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March 2018

1. Editor's Corner

Carol Baffi-Dugan

I hope when you get this issue, the early signs of spring are apparent on your campus (unfortunately for those of us in New England it will likely be another month). But just as spring is a new beginning, we are all working with our newest group of students embarking on the application process, all the while counseling others about which school to choose, what to do since they have not been admitted, or how to spend their summer most fruitfully. Like the constant march of the seasons, our work never ends but we are rewarded by seeing our students grow and develop and go on to achieve their goals.

2. 40 Volunteers and Me – The Finding an Advisor Service of the NAAHP

Robert Cannon, PhD

The Finding an Advisor Service of the NAAHP is a free service to help individuals who are interested in pursuing a health career get advising assistance from experienced premed/health professions advisors. The Service is described in the Student Resources section of the NAAHP website. Volunteer advisors provide assistance about all aspects for health professions advising. In 2017, there were 675 requests for help to this service. Requests for help range from questions about prerequisites for health professions, test preparation, and application process questions. The Service handles requests from individuals throughout the U.S. and internationally.

3. Creating Shadowing Opportunities for Pre-Health Students

Lynn White, MD

Observing healthcare professionals interacting with patients (“shadowing”) in a clinical setting is an important step in a student’s process of determining whether a career in healthcare is the right fit. Yet there are a number of reasons why shadowing opportunities may be difficult to find. We were able to establish a collaboration with volunteer services and medical education staff at a local hospital to create a tiered program for pre-health students in which they can earn shadowing privileges. This program serves the needs of both the hospital and the students.

4. Design a Healthcare System: A Conversation Starter

Cynthia B. Powell, PhD

A project that requires students to design a new healthcare system can serve as a starting point for conversations about the organization of healthcare delivery. The ethical decisions that surround a plan for providing medical care to residents of an imaginary country become more personal as students are required to make the tough decisions of who gets care and how that care will be financed and fairly distributed. It is a worthy goal for pre-health advisors to raise interest in healthcare organization and introduce students to career pathways that may allow them to impact public healthcare policy.

5. Advising Rural Students to Become Rural Healthcare Providers

Karen M. Ganss, MS

The national need for healthcare providers in rural communities is high and will continue to increase as current professionals retire. Pre-health advisors and other health educators play a key role in alleviating this shortage through motivation of students to choose to practice in rural settings. Although rural students are more likely to choose to live and work in small communities as health professionals, this population faces unique challenges to enrolling and persisting in educational settings. At each level of the educational pipeline, intentional activities promoting academic excellence and rural clinical experiences must be integrated in order to motivate students to pursue rural medicine.

6. Examining the Conduct of Medical Student-Led Tours on Interview Day

Megan Bradley, MD
Lee Gammon, MD
Carol Elam, EdD
Terry Stratton, PhD

During the admission interview process, medical school applicants often participate in organized tours of the medical campus to learn more about their programs, facilities, and general atmosphere. The purpose of this prospective, cross-sectional study is to explore the role of a student-led tour at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine on applicants’ assessments of the program – and to guide improvements that might enhance applicants’ experiences. Identified areas of tour improvement pertained to: (1) facilities; (2) student guide interactions; (3) school environment; and (4) tour quality.

7. Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

Carol Baffi-Dugan, MA

On January 12, 2018, the BostonLocal Area Network (LAN) met. New England area advisors have been gathering annually for the past two decades, hosted by various health professions programs or undergraduate institutions. This year our host was the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

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